Great title despite the line/concept never coming into play... and it's easily its best thing. Like the rest of Criterion's Nikkatsu Noir box set, the action scenes are stylish, but they're a rarity, thus it relies on its traditional narrative, which is very weak. Apart from the final shootout and an early assassination scene, there's the musical score and the interesting-looking Shishido, but that's just not enough.
As with Leone, the western is revisited via an abstract formal amplitude but with an unexpected silent derivation, underscored by a soundtrack that is both jazzy and Morricone like. The protagonist has a kamikaze moral dimension, an ethic of resilience as with Melville's "samurai", and like this director, we have a dry and direct look, with a quick flowing editing that allows an absence of psychology, pure reason.
un classico della Nikkatsu Corporation è un riuscitissimo mix giapponese di noir americano e spaghetti western. Film di genere puro, visivamente curatissimo e con una parte finale strepitosa, tale da far soprassedere sulle incongruenze varie e sul fatto che abbiano scelto per protagonista uno con improbabili guance flaccide, forse nella vana speranza di emulare un bogart con gli occhi a mandorla.